A Peep Behind the Scenes

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Yesterday Sirchley Neighbourhood Forum, Friends of Stirchley Park, Stirchley HappeningsBirmingham City Council and I were given a tour of Stirchley Baths.

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Site manager Steve Marsh, explained how the large pool will be preserved but covered so it can be used as a main hall for sports or social events. This is similar to when boards were put down, to provide a temporary venue for dancing in the 1950s. The pool is 3ft at the shallow end and 6ft at the deep end and there will be a peephole so that the bottom of the pool is still visible. Although at present changing cubicles from this hall have been removed, some will be restored and returned.

Some of the steel on site will need replacing and this room will eventually become a kitchen area.
Some of the steel on site will need replacing and this room will eventually become a kitchen area.
The site manage, Steve is convinced the chlorine tank was included in a refurbishment that took place in the 60s/70s.
The site manager, Steve is convinced the chlorine tank was included in a refurbishment that took place in the 60s/70s.
This room will eventually be used as a small cinema. Community film nights should be a regular event. The tiles will be restored in this room and throughout the site where possible. Tiles will be sourced in situations where they're too damaged.
This room will eventually be used as a small cinema. Community film nights should be a regular event. The tiles will be restored in this room and throughout the site where possible. Tiles will be sourced in situations where they’re too damaged.
As you can see from the pipe lines on the walls, the second room once housed slipper baths and will be converted into an office. Rented units such as these will provide the community centre with a sustainable income.
As you can see from the pipe lines on the walls, this room once housed slipper baths and will be converted into an office. Rented units such as these will provide the community centre with a sustainable income.
The foyer was where people would pay to use the pool and baths.
The foyer was where people would pay to use the pool and baths.
The timber will be rescued so that this reception area retains it's authenticity.
The timber will be rescued so that this reception area retains it’s authenticity.

The enormous boiler will be chopped into pieces to make it possible to remove it from site. The basement is filled with Roman-like channels, for water from the baths and rain water to circulate. I eventually got my bearings when I could hear the clunk of the drain cover motorists drive over outside the co-op on Hazelwell Street.

 The boilerThe Basement

Thank you to Karen Cheney for arranging the tour. There will be more opportunities for residents to take a look at the work in progress at the baths in upcoming months.

8 comments

  1. Neil J says:

    Nice pics Louise and an informative article too. It reminds me of my childhood, I spent many happy hours in the pool and the gym. Both my junior & senior schools used it to teach pupils to swim. I was only thrown out once, for ‘pushing’ (not ‘heavy petting’, whatever that was! Lol). Good work!

    • louisedeakin says:

      Thanks Neil. Glad you liked it. Now with the crane on site it is coming on apace. Keep an eye out for upcoming tours.

  2. Debra Stewart says:

    I went swimming at stirchley as a teenager and went to the chippy afterwards not far from there and also there was a milk machine just up from The British Oak and i think we used to pay 2p for a carton. Does anyone remember it. X

    • Neil J says:

      Hi Debra, the chip shop was Nick’s and I remember the blue milk machine which was outside the green-grocers on the corner of Hunts Road. I never actually had any milk out of it. 2p? You must have been from a well-off family! Lol Do you remember the old sweet shop just up from the baths? Happy days!

    • Julia Mobley says:

      That has made me all nostalgic too. I remember the milk vending machine. Was not it outside greengrocers. I will ask my mum tomorrow and she will definitely remember. Great memories.

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